How to Keep Your Dog Safe During Outdoor Adventures: Hiking, Camping, and More
Dogs adore the outdoors just as much as we do, and taking them on outdoor adventures such as hiking, camping, and exploring can be an unconventional way to strengthen your relationship. However, as much as we love our furry friends, the vast outdoors can also bring many risks to their wellbeing. While it’s not always easy to forecast the hazards associated with outdoor activities, there are steps you can take to keep your dog safe during outdoor adventures.
Research the area beforehand
Before boarding on any outdoor adventure, it’s vital to conduct some research about the location you’ll be touring. Check to see if any local wildlife or plants can be harmful to your dog, such as poisonous snakes or toxic plants. You should also be aware of any local ordinances that might impact your dogs, such as leash laws or the places where dogs are permitted.
Get your dog in shape
Before embarking on any outdoor adventures, it’s essential to make sure your dog is in good physical condition. This may entail gradually increasing your dog’s exercise regime to build up its stamina and endurance. You can start this by taking your dog on a bit longer of a walk each week. Maybe your dog is comfortable with a 20 minute walk now, so slowly build up to 30 minutes for the next few weeks, and so on.
Train Your Dog
Instruct your dog before pursuing outside activities, your dog must be trained. Basic commands like come, remain, and heel should be taught to dogs. This guarantees that your dog stays close to you and prevents any inappropriate behavior. Furthermore, teaching your dog to be comfortable with a leash and harness is essential. By doing this, you can keep your dog from escaping or being lost.
Schedule a checkup with your vet
Consulting with your veterinarian before outdoor activities is essential. Your dog can be protected against ticks, fleas, and other diseases that might be caught from wildlife by taking any safety precautions or immunizations that your veterinarian deems appropriate. Additionally, ensure that your dog’s vaccines are up to date.
Verify that your dog has received all the necessary vaccinations. When you take your dog out into the great outdoors, they’ll be subjected to a variety of possible pitfalls, including other dogs and wildlife. To shield your dog against potentially fatal diseases, make sure they are up to date on all of their immunizations, including rabies.
Get the right gear
Purchasing the appropriate equipment can help keep your dog safe during outdoor pursuits. This can include a sturdy leash and collar, a cozy and durable harness, boots for their paws, and a backpack to carry food and supplies. Make sure to test the gear before your excursion, to ensure it fits and is comfortable for your dog.
Try a dog hiking trial
Taking a trial hike before your actual adventure can help prepare your dog for the real thing. This can involve walking on a nearby trail or park to see how your dog reacts to different terrain, inclines, and distances. This can also help you determine if your dog is ready for more challenging hikes. Dog hiking can be a rewarding hobby to share with your pup, if done right!
Practice camping at home
If you plan on camping with your dog, it’s important to prepare them for sleeping in a tent. This can involve setting up a tent in your backyard and having your dog sleep in it. This can help acclimatize them to the unfamiliar environment and reduce anxiety during the actual camping trip.
Pack plenty of water and food when you’re out in the wilderness. It’s important to make sure your dog stays hydrated and well-fed. Pack plenty of water and food for your dog, and make sure you take frequent breaks to allow them to rest and rehydrate.
Keep your dog on a leash
When you’re out in the wilderness, it’s essential to keep your dog on a leash, even if they are well-behaved and trained. This will lessen the likelihood of them straying, getting lost, or getting into unsafe circumstances like engaging in contact with such as encountering wildlife or falling off a cliff. In some areas, it may also be required by law to keep your dog on a leash.
Protect Your Dog from Wildlife
When you’re out in nature, you would come across a variety of wildlife, such as bears, coyotes, snakes, and other animals. While most wildlife animals avoid humans, they can pose a threat to your dog. To keep your dog safe, keep them on a leash, stay on designated trails, and avoid areas with signs warning of potential wildlife encounters. Additionally, consider investing in a GPS tracker for your pet in case they get lost or separated from you.
Protect Your Dog from Sun and Heat
Protect your dog from the elements depending on the time of year and the location. Outdoor adventures can expose your dog to a variety of weather conditions, from extreme heat to cold and wet conditions. Make sure you pack the appropriate gear to protect your dog from the elements, such as a raincoat or sweater, and make sure they have a comfortable place to rest and sleep at night.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
In the event of an emergency, it’s important to be prepared. You must have a strategic plan in place for what to do if your dog becomes injured or sick, such as knowing the location of the nearest veterinary hospital or emergency clinic. Additionally, you should carry basic first-aid equipment for both you and your dog while on any hike.
Leave No Trace
Finally, it’s essential to leave no trace during your outdoor adventures. Clean up after your dog and pack out any trash. Additionally, avoid disturbing natural habitats and leave plants and wildlife untouched.
Common Threats to Dogs During Outdoor Adventures
There are several perilous plants in outdoor locations that can damage dogs. Plants that can irritate the skin or trigger allergic responses include poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Other plants like mushrooms can be poisonous if ingested by dogs. It’s important to learn about the local plants in the area and keep dogs away from any potentially dangerous vegetation.
When going on outdoor adventures, dogs may be at risk from frigid or hot temps. High temperatures can cause heat exhaustion or heatstroke whereas low temperatures can cause hypothermia. It’s important to monitor dogs for signs of overheating or cold and provide appropriate shelter and hydration to keep them safe.
Water hazards such as rivers, lakes, or ponds can pose a danger to dogs during outdoor adventures. Dogs may be at risk of drowning or getting trapped in debris or currents. It’s important to keep dogs on a leash and monitor them closely for water hazards.
Injuries such as cuts, bruises, or broken bones can occur during outdoor adventures. Rough terrain, sharp objects, and other hazards can cause injuries to dogs. It’s important to monitor dogs for signs of injury and provide appropriate first aid or medical attention if necessary.
Items to Consider Including in Your Dog’s Pack
Before you head out, make sure you have everything you need for your dog!
First aid kit
A first aid kit for dogs should include items such as gauze, bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and a digital thermometer. It’s important to be prepared for any injuries or emergencies that may occur.
Leash and collar
A sturdy leash and collar are essential for keeping your dog safe and under control during outdoor adventures. A reflective collar can also make your dog more visible at night.
Waste bags Pack
Waste bags to clean up after your dog during the adventure. It’s important to be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your dog to help protect the environment.
Blanket or mat
A blanket or mat can provide a comfortable place for your dog to rest and sleep during the adventure.
Tick and flea prevention
Outdoor environments can be home to parasites such as ticks and fleas, which can cause discomfort and transmit diseases. Pack tick and flea prevention medication to protect your dog during the adventure.
Toys and treats
Pack toys and treats to keep your dog entertained and reward good behavior during the adventure.
Taking your dog on outdoor adventures can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. However, it’s important to ensure your dog’s safety by following these tips. By being prepared and taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy your outdoor adventures with your beloved pal.
If you are in the Peoria, IL region and planning on taking your dog on an adventure soon, visit Whitney Veterinary Hospital. Our expert vets will make sure your pet is in the best physical shape before you head out and ensure your pet is protected with all of the vaccinations and parasite preventatives they may need. Give us a call today at (309) 685-4707, or Request an Appointment Online.